29 Jan 2012

Bad weather delays cruise ship fuel pumping

3:16 pm on 29 January 2012

An operation to pump oil from the capsized cruise ship Costa Concordia has been delayed by bad weather.

Italian authorities fear that the ship's oil tanks could leak, causing an environmental disaster.

Dutch salvage company Smit says it now hopes to begin work next week on pumping more than 2300 tonnes of diesel out of the 290 metre long vessel.

Meanwhile, the BBC reports that divers searching the wreck have found the body of a woman, bringing the death toll to 17.

Another 15 people are still missing.

The Costa Concordia is lying on its side off Giglio island, where it hit rocks at the start of a Mediterranean cruise.

The captain, Francesco Schettino, is under house arrest while his actions are being investigated.

He is accused of multiple manslaughter, causing a shipwreck, and abandoning ship before all passengers were evacuated. He denies the allegations.